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Babylon 5

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Now available on Amazon Prime. If you haven't seen it before I would highly recommend.

I have just started watching it again. I never did see all the eps when they originally aired. Hard to imagine that most of the CGI in the first season was done on 1988-era Amiga 2000s. IIRC, SeaQuest was also done on Amigas.

How many related miniseries and special feature episodes were there in addition to the main series?

Some of the fx were redone a few years later, so it isn't all contemporary fx. Still the redones don't change much, just touch things up -- a main reason was to improve the monitors on the bridge, for example.

--- Quote from: Staggerwing on June 23, 2018, 06:57:17 PM ---How many related miniseries and special feature episodes were there in addition to the main series?

--- End quote ---

In continuity order (more or less):

IN THE BEGINNING -- retells the story of Earth's first encounter with the elf-like Minbari, and the genocidal war that followed. Spoils some key plot points since it was made much later after the main series ended. Should probably not be watched until after Season 3's two-parter "War Without End", or even not until near the end of Season 5. (The overarching narration is set during "Objects in Motion" iirc, the climactic action to the second half of Season 5.) The first season will fill in the blanks sufficiently enough to figure out the story after the fact.

THE GATHERING -- this is the pilot movie. Despite much of the human cast changing out afterward, it sets up a number of situations and plot points that continue on into the main series. Should be watched before season 1 starts (and might be included in a season 1 compilation).

THIRDSPACE -- a filler movie that can be safely skipped, set during a period of the show without much filler! There are some continuity snarls, too, which keep it from fitting cleanly anywhere, but roughly speaking it happens somewhere around (or during?) Episode 4.9 "Atonement". It's watchable but not at all necessary.

RIVER OF SOULS -- a filler movie that hearkens back to a somewhat-filler plotline from the first season. Set just after the end of Season 5's story Ep 5.21.

I should point out here that due to the 5 plotted seasons being abandoned by the network, the show basically ties up and ends its main plots at Ep 4.21 "Rising Star". Ep 5.22 was meant to be the true finale to the series, skipping ahead several years, and so is placed at the end of the 5th season, but Ep 4.22 "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" was meant to be an epilogue to the epilogue showcasing the history of the growth of the legend of the history of the story (so to speak) over thousands of generations. When Season 5 was greenlit after all, some parts were foreshortened to add in teasers about events coming in season 5. (Or something like that. What I mean is that the final eps to Season 4 and 5 are screwy.)

Season 5 itself ends up being kind-of filler, with two main stories (dividing the season into rough halves) acting much like the second half of "Into The Woods"! -- the happy ending isn't a clean ending after all, and several things fall apart messily. Some fans like it, but I didn't. The quality drops off a lot in my opinion, and I've never watched it again.

A CALL TO ARMS -- starts a new large story arc after the events of season 5 (but long before the seasons 4 and 5 finales), and serves as the pilot film for a new series with some serious similarities to the Space Battleship Yamato / Star Blazers. The sequel series was called "Legend of the Rangers" "Babylon 5: Crusade" and due to a number of problems including rampant Executive Meddling, it was wrapped up with an aborted single season.  I gave up on it long before the season ended, and have never gone back. (Heck I didn't even remember the series name properly!)

THE LEGEND OF THE RANGERS: TO LIVE AND DIE IN STARLIGHT -- was supposed to be the pilot film of a third series, but its ratings doomed it (partly due to unlucky or unwise scheduling). I've never watched it myself.

THE LOST TALES: VOICES IN THE DARK -- was supposed to be the pilot film, sort of, for a direct-to-video intraquel series, but that didn't pan out either. Never watched it myself.

In conclusion, the only tie-in movies I recommend are The Gathering (because that starts the actual series, and may be included with season one anyway) and In The Beginning (although that's more of an official fan film and isn't really necessary for anything; it just fleshes out things we already know and have heard about, sometimes borrowing footage straight out or recreating it.) I made my own fan-edit of ITB which minimizes the narrator's situation and some other spoilery things, so that I can watch / show it 'first' safely.

I usually do watch Thirdspace, but it's far from necessary, more of a small breather arc between the main stories of Season 4.

Thanks for the show timeline Jason.

The original CGI scenes were not actually remastered or even 'cleaned up' since WB had lost all the full-size (16x9) CGI prints so the broadcast 4x3 filmstocks were actually cropped on top and bottom to fit widescreen. That's why the CGI looks so blurry and 'glittery' nowadays. Interesting article on why the quality of the visuals jumps back and forth so much- don't blame the Amigas:


This is one of the best Sci-Fi shows to have ever been produced.
Even Stark Trek massively ripped it off (DS9 anyone?).


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